Hey, everyone! Welcome to our new piece of Daily Content! Every Tuesday, we will be releasing articles about our games! These can range from simple things like analyzing the base pentagon in BattleCON to complex card counting in EXCEED. This week, we have an EXCEED Guide from Jay Green!
Welcome to part 2 of my quick start guides, which will hopefully give you enough ideas to get going. True mastery will take time and experience, but if you have a good general idea of what you are doing, you will get there before long.
Mei Lien is a versatile fighter with a lot of good options for most situations she can end up in.
Special thanks to Ithry, whose comments on Mei Lien were tremendously helpful to writing this guide.
Crouching EX attack, hidden range bonus
Mei Lien gets +0-1 range on any attack that has a copy of itself in her discards. This can make her great at zoning an opponent and launching long range attacks that can't be answered. But it usually requires some setup to get the required attacks in the discard, and the opponent has some ability to predict her options when they look at the discard
However, what most new Mei Lien players miss is that her EX attacks have a secret range bonus. When you reveal an EX attack, one copy is immediately placed in your discard pile. This means that all of your EX attacks gain the bonus range of Mei Lien's unique ability. Range is tied to speed, meaning the farther away opponents are, the slower effective attacks tend to be. But since your EX attacks have both extra speed and extra range, you can usually counter a huge number of your opponents options at your maximum ranges.
Don't go overboard in setting up your discards
Mei Lien's ability doesn't come online until you have cards in your discard that also match the ones in your hand. Luckily she has several boost effects that make this easy to arrange. But there is a hidden downside to this. You see, the secret to Mei Lien is that all of her attacks are pretty good. So when you use boost effects to stack the discard, you are losing the opportunity to use the attack on the boost card. On top of that, its a little bit easier to see Mei Lien is planning when she focuses on getting specific discards, making it easier to counter her. Ultimately, you'll have to figure out the right balance for yourself, but keep in mind that she is very strong just playing her attacks, and letting the discard handle itself. Its likely both approaches have some uses.
Range 4 is the sweet spot
Mei Lien has nice tools for every range, but range 4 is usually her best place to be for zoning out opponent. At range 4 Mei Lien can threaten both of her Ultras, which are both fantastic tools. Range 4 allows her to punish advancing opponents with Halberdier and Fujin Drum. Finally, its the perfect range for using shenanigans like EX sweep, spike, and assault. When Mei Lien is in exceed mode, every attack in her deck except Block, Grasp, and Raijin Knife can hit at range 4, and you can boost for the range to hit with those last two if you just absolutely have to.
Weaknesses and Vulnerabilities
Mei Lien is a well rounded character with few glaring weaknesses, but she still has a few chinks in her armor that opponents should take every chance to exploit, and that she should work to minimize.
- Relies on being able to zone opponents by staying at range. Focus is her worst fear, and if she doesn't predict it properly, she will be vulnerable.
- Hits her power spike at an awkward time. She is strongest when about half her deck is in her discard. If discard is mostly empty, she doesn't have many options for hitting at range. However, if most of her deck is in the discard, she doesn't have as many possibilities to have in hand. So she tends to get stronger over time, until she is suddenly deprived of that power.
- Can be a bit predictable when discarding specific cards.
- Using her setup boosts can cost her valuable utility that comes from the attack half of those cards.
- Incredible versatility. She likely has an answer for every possible situation, as long as she has the right cards in hand. She can even stop Ulrik's Inevitability, which is saying something.
- Fantastic EX attacks. That extra range can frequently catch an opponent off guard, making a strong attack all the stronger.
- Top notch Ultras. For a lot of characters, Ultras serve as useful niche attacks, but for Mei Lien, you should consider both as core to your strategy. Remember that if you have one copy of an ultra in your gauge, you can gain extra range on the other copy by paying its gauge cost with its twin.
- High damage potential. I haven't mentioned the other side of her UA yet, because its less important to Mei Lien's strategy. But +4 power on attacks in exceed mode if you have the copy in gauge is extremely punishing. It can make a great way to finish an opponent off, or punch through their defenses. Don't forget you have this side to your unique ability.
Opening hands and Mulligans
With Mei Lien, I would recommend that you use mulligans aggressively in order to get cards that work well at opening range. Remember this is her ideal range, but her least ideal discard state. So you will be hopefully aiming to get a good EX attack that will allow you to come out swinging. Failing that, you can use one of the boosts that gives a lot of draw and discard to fish for those options.
Thanks a lot, Jay! That was very insightful! Tune-in again NEXT WEEK for another Weekly Article and you might just learn a few more tricks!